Tag Archives: soup

The Day in Retrospect (and Soup)

After lunch arrived the activity of the day became a little slower. In fact, for one of us it slowed down to gentle breathing pace interspersed with cups of tea and suggestions from Julia that it might be a good idea to wake up.

So far I have done a bit of washing up and finalised three submissions for The Haibun Journal. It’s not what you’d think of if you had to define the term “workload”.

Currently I’m making soup as a change of pace from editing. I’m going to write this post whilst the soup simmers. One pot is Tomato, Lentil and Chilli. The other is Curried Yellow Pea soup.  Yes, it’s welcome to “What Does Simon have in his Cupboard Tonight?”. I’m hoping they will see me through three lunches and at least one main meal. To be accurate, that’s my second hope. My first hope is that the yellow split pea soup works. I’ve not made it before and the peas take a while to cook. I’m hazy on recipes (just adapting my normal process of boiling and blitzing without bothering too much about the rest of it. My concern at the moment, apart from proportions and cooking time is that the recipe I’m using as a guide refers to “vibrant, spicy, yellow soup”. Mine is red. That’s because I used curry powder instead of spices. Hopefully, by the time I’ve blitzed it and added turmeric and lemon juice it might be yellow, though as long as it tastes OK I’m not overly concerned.

Carrot & Ginger Soup

Carrot & Ginger Soup

The plan is to use soup as a replacement for sandwiches at lunchtime as sandwiches tend to involve bread, cheese, and pickle. Or carbs, fat and salt as they are better known.


The Great British Sewing Bee has ended for another year. I won’t spoil the ending for you but the winner was the one we suspected it would be. You can generally tell these things weeks before. It’s not generally the standard of sewing but the favouritism of the judges that gives it away. Fortunately the judges’ favourite also produced the best dress of teh final so it was all OK this year.

The soup has turned out alright. It’s a bit under-seasoned as a result of my decision not to use stock cubes but no problems apart from that. Even the Yellow Split Pea Soup came through with a recognisable yellow colour. The lentils have thickened the tomato a little too much but nothing a splash of water won’t fix. Yellow split peas are £1 a kilo, which should do eight or ten portions of soup. It tastes nice and it delights my sense of economy.

Carrot, Parsnip and Swede Soup


Holiday Day 1

Today I started with a lie in and followed up with a relaxed breakfast featuring bacon croissants. I have become very cosmopolitan in my later years.

In the after noon I went to the shop because, in the course of the morning I suddenly realised I had left my battery charger plugged in at the shop. I’d noticed it bleep yesterday to tell me the batteries were charged but had forgotten to disconnect it. Fortunately, the automatic cut off had worked and all was OK. This isn’t always the case as they sometimes get painfully hot. This is a reminder of why I was worried about fire.

In the evening we had a large salad, plus some quiche and a sliver of cheesecake. The salad was rocket, tomato, cucumber, spring onions, mushrooms, peppers, dried apricots, almonds, feta and watermelon. It’s partly an attempt to eat more salad, and partly an attempt to clear up a lot of  part packets of stuff.

Tomorrow I will make soup as we have a number of mushrooms and carrots coming to the end of their shelf life. It will be Mushroom Soup and Carrot and Lentil Soup, I’m not going to try to make Carrot and Mushroom Soup.  That would be a step too far.

I’ve also been reading posts, though I’m still struggling with time. My apologies to everyone I have been neglecting.

Finally, we watched The Great British Sewing Bee. It’s a harmless way to pass an hour in the evening, despite the slewed comments of the judges. They definitely have favourites. In the judging it’s quite common for judges to criticise the non-favourites for faults that they then ignore when telling their favorites that their creation is superb, even though one or more obvious faults are jumping out of the TV screen.

Bumble bee on bramble flowers – Sherwood Forest

n most TV  competitions.

Soup and a Virtuous Life

I know I keep saying I must lead a better life, but the events of the last couple of days have finally brought things to a head.

For the last two days I have been incapacitated. It’s partly down to bad habits and partly due to stupidity. My medications can cause digestive disruption but generally this isn’t too bad, and I have a range of ways of coping with it. One is to take other pills to stop it happening, and the other is to watch what I eat, as some foods are worse than others. Mainly I control it by taking the pills on Saturday night (the dose is ten pills once a week) so I have Sunday to recover. Normally, nothing bad happens. I’m not an idiot, despite some of the things I write, and generally I can adapt to most things in the search for an easy life.

On Saturday, I forgot to take the pills, so this week I took them on Sunday. It’s not usually a problem. However, this week Julia had bought a Colin the Caterpillar Superman Cake for Father’s Day. Any excuse for a celebration . . .

Unfortunately Colin has four feet and a face which are all big chunks of chocolate. Add rich chocolate cake, chocolate and (I confess, a pork pie) to my medication and the results were uncomfortable.

I suppose I’m getting older and I should be more careful with my diet. I’m also less resilient than I used to be. This was a fact driven home yesterday as I sat on the edge of the bed staring into space and thinking about putting my socks on. It was the same sort of thing I used to do when I had Covid, but this time it wasn’t a worldwide pandemic that brought me down, just eating too much cake.

I was still a bit slow putting my socks on this morning, but much better than yesterday. I’m now going to make beans on toast for lunch (my first solid food since Sunday) and explore the many choices of soup that I can make. I may even blog again today, after a few weeks of being lazy.

Carrot & Ginger Soup

Carrot & Ginger Soup

It’s Dull and it Features Soup


Don’t say you weren’t warned . . .

As part of my new start I have reorganised my folders to make my writing more efficient. It nearly as useless as reorganising my sock drawer but it’s all about small changes at the moment. I’m hoping that a few small changes will be enough to give me a start.

There are two soups simmering on the hob. It will be mushroom tonight and spicy carrot and parsnip for several lunches. From this you can probably work out which vegetables are in plentiful supply. It looks like vegetable stew tomorrow too.

I’ve returned to my roots today (literally, in the case of the soup) and am looking at “ordinary” poems today. There are too many rules to writing haiku and the like and I’m feeling more relaxed now. I think I’ve covered this subject before. So many rules, so much “guidance”, so many editors laying down the law. In the end you think more about the rules than the words.

It’s just  a temporary thing until I adjust my thinking. I’ve allowed myself to get lost in a maze of other people’s making. It’s a funny thing, but the editors who have the most to say about what a haibun should be, are ones for whom I have little respect as poets. They are the ones that cause me the problems. The other dozen I deal with are all excellent individuals who are always ready to help.

It’s just human nature that I have become hung up on the others.

Even after a break of just a few days I’m already starting to plan a return to haibun. However, with well over 100 published Japanese style poems published, I don’t have to worry about publication. I can worry about writing well. (Note that I will still be worrying whatever happens). The problem came when I was worrying about quality and about being published. It would be nice to do both, but more relaxing just to write for enjoyment.

It’s a bit like my WP experience. It would be nice to write a popular blog which led on to fame and fortune, but it’s quite nice just to be able to write one and exchange comments with a loyal band of readers who don’t mind multiple blog posts about soup and my dislike of modern life. Success is not about fame and fortune, it’s about learning that Maine is the best State (or so Laurie tells me) and that a flying bird of the day is an essential part of the day.

Carrot & Ginger Soup

Carrot & Ginger Soup

Soup, Medallions, eBay

As usual, there have been all sorts of things happening, but five minutes later they are forgotten or I have decided that they aren’t interesting enough to write about.

At the moment, Julia is out at a meeting (she’s still on the committee of a local group and has been for about ten years. She must have been Chair for at least five.) I keep telling her it’s time for a change. They need fresh leadership now. She’s not doing badly, it’s just that I think she’s done enough and could do with a rest from it. She was on the phone this morning when I ws still dressing and continued for another hour. This our day off!

I have two pots of soup on the go – Tomato and Lentil and Lentil and Bacon. Yes, I always have plenty of lentils in. And tinned tomatoes. And somebody gave us some leftover ham earlier in the week. It’s all from a pig so it’s bacon enough for me.  We will have soup and sandwiches tonight, with a salad garnish to try to look healthy. Tomorrow I will have soup for lunch, and the same again on Friday. I’m having Saturday off so we may well have soup for lunch then too. It’s cheap, healthy and convenient, which are all good.

Citizenship Medallion – est Lothian Council (reverse) by Tower Mint

Over the last few months I have been making a collection of British Citizenship medallions – they have been giving them out since at least 2005. This afternoon I listed all the ones I know of. It’s the sort of thing that collectors do. I have a list of 15, including two different varieties for Birmingham. There is a vast array of prices, anything from £2 to £45. I buy them when I see them at up to £10, as that’s about what they are worth in my opinion. The amusing one is the Brent Council one from London. It’s a well produced medal and very rare. I know it’s very rare because on of the eBay sellers currently selling one tells me so. Two others are rare and the other five haven’t offered an opinion on rarity.

If there are eight on eBay they aren’t rare. When cataloguing things some people put a rarity rating in the catalogue. Eight on eBay means it’s common. Like a lot of other things, people see one described as rare and decide to use the description themselves. They are all about £35 – £45 and I have news for them on that score too. They hardly ever seem to sell. But eBay dealers are born optimists . . .

London Borough of Harrow, but I expect you spotted that already.

 . . . and the back.

Talking of which, I put a medal case on eBay yesterday. It is custom made to hold a particulat pair of medals – the 1902 and the 1911 Coronation medals. The dates are gold-blocked on the lid and the 1902 medal has a very recognisable shape.  We hummed and hah’d on price. Someone who wants one would probably pay a lot of money for it.  But someone who wants one is probably a very rare customer. We went for the lower end of the price scale and set a new selling record – 11 minutes!


Day 3 – World Peace

Day 1 and Day 2 of my plan are done.

Day 3 “Probably write an informative piece about world peace. Though possibly not that informative, and possibly a different subject.” Has not yet come to fruition as I seem to have gone straight to Day 5 “Don’t blog. Watch TV.”

In some contexts it is good to make faster progress than anticipated, but in the case of this plan I feel this may not be the an accurate representation of success.

So it’s back to Day 3 and a discussion on World Peace. I’ve spent several days thinking about it and have reluctantly come to the conclusion that we will never achieve it. We may as well just start an arms race and lay waste to the Earth. As Einstein is reputed to have said “I don’t know what weapons the Third World War will be fought with, But the Fourth will be fought with sticks and stones.”

Sometimes you just can’t help a world which won’t listen.

This, of course, won’t be an easy policy to sell.

As a gentler choice, I would like to push the benefits of renewable energy. If there is no need for fossil fuels we might be able to preserve the world a little longer and make World Peace something worth having. We would also remove the question of oil from politics. We all have access to wind and sunlight, which should make things simpler.

It would, of course, be harder to impose sanctions on producers of oil (Russia, being a case in point). But it would be simpler in other ways, as Europe would not have become reliant on Russian gas. I blunder through life as a happy idiot, but even I could see that importing gas from Russia was bound to be  problem eventually. Importing energy is a bad policy, full stop.

And there you have my policy for World Peace – more renewable energy. Politicians will then have to find something else to quarrel about. I predict water will be the one, so let’s start desalinating now, before Water War 1 breaks out.

This is officially “Day 3” for planning purposes, for those of you who are keeping count.

The picture choice? When the whole world is left in ruins, we will still have soup.

Carrot Soup, Curry and Cushions

The day is nearly over and I have completed the first draft of the new villanelle I discussed a couple of days ago.  It’s still a bit rough around the edges but it now has all the lines and all the rhymes it needs. The lines are nearly ll the right length, and the rhymes nearly all work, so it’s coming closer to being ready and looks quite like a poem.

I spoke to a bird watcher I know a few days ago and told him about the kites we saw on our drive through Northamptonshire. He was unimpressed. He’s only been doing it for around a year and he has never known the kite as a rare bird. What is a thing of wonder to me is a commonplace event to him. It’s strange what a difference twenty years can make.

After a lazy day, we had sweet potato and chickpea curry, which was quite tasty. It tasted all the better for being the culmination of a plan, and was quite an easy meal – just needing warming up to be ready. I am at work tomorrow and have just made sandwiches using the mackerel paste I made on Thursday. Tomorrow Julia will have the rest of the carrot and parsnip soup for lunch. Not sure about tea, but e will then have the leftover curry. We won’t have it for tea, I expect, because Julia has a fixation about not having the same thing twice in a row. Women, in my experience, are like that.

As a child I once expressed an opinion that I wished I could eat nothing but cheese and pickle sandwiches for the rest of my life. My mother said i would soon tire of them if that was all I had. I wasn’t convinced. Sixty years later I am still happy to have them every lunchtime, but my digestion does require me to take a break every few weeks, at which point I try something else for a while. We’ve just had a couple of weeks of tuna mayonnaise, corned beef and now mackerel paste, but I still find it hard to beat cheese and pickle.

I honestly believe that is one of the main differences between women and men. They like cushions, children and variety in their menus, wheres I could happily live without all that frippery.

And just like my food, I have little difficulty in reworking old titles and photos.

Downsizing, Decluttering and Döstädning

All productive days need a list somewhere near the beginning. If not, you risk wandering off the point, lose motivation and, as I often do, become confused by the number of tasks. Once you are confused by the profusion of tasks it is hard to settle down and achieve anything.

Some things need to be done every day – replies to comments, checking emails, maybe looking at eBay (which is of varying importance, depending on what I am bidding on). Others don’t need doing, as they are just time-wasting habits of no importance.

It is now some time later . . .

I looked up soup recipes using tinned soup, which was something I had meant to do. Then I made the lunch, using one of the recipes. Well, part of one of the recipes. We are out of smoked paprika and the lentils would have taken too long to cook.  Then I had to take Julia to an appointment so, while I was out I nipped to the jewellery shop as I haven’t been for a while.

It’s now 4pm and the day is slightly slipping by, despite my mention of lists.  I am now going to spend another hour on tasks from the list and see how it turns out. I suspect it will be better than some of my recent days.

In the last post I said “research some articles, write some bits for the Numismatic Society Facebook page and knock some submissions into shape.”

I’ve done a bit of research and polished a poem. So far, apart from the soup, they are the only actual list-type things I’ve done. I’ve also found a specialist book dealer who may buy some of my books. I need to downsize and if I can make  few shillings at the same time it will be good.

I’m going to start calling it döstädning, which is Swedish for Death Cleaning. Actually, I might just call it Swedish Death Cleaning, there are a lot of umlauts in there now I come to look at it again.

Ah! I’ve just come up with a new title . . .

A Day of Good Intentions

I’m going to have to abandon the ideal of daily posting for a while, as I seem to consistently be a day out.  So from now on I will post when I can, allowing for my hibernation schedule.

This morning we have a day off and I am making cauliflower soup. Julia found a big back of frozen cauliflower florets in the freezer when she tidied at the weekend. It is bet before 2023 but it is full of ice, so I decided to use it for soup as I can’t see it looking too good as a vegetable. I suspect that the ice will melt and make it soggy. I’m roasting it for added flavour at the moment and will make it into soup in my standard way before dropping in the dregs of the Stilton from the fridge. It’s about time to make a trip to Long Clawson to buy a Christmas Stilton. We haven’t done that for a few years, as Covid dimmed my enthusiasm for shopping.

It’s probably time for some Christmas plans now. This include buying more ASDA Sloe Gin Mince Pies. Of all the ones we have “tested” so far they are by far the best and, being on special offer, the best value. They are currently £3.50 for two packs, which is reasonable value, and better than noted on that ebsite.

I am also making vegetable stew for tomorrow and preparing the vegetables to roast with tonight’s meal. I’m not quite sure what it is going to be, but it will have roasted vegetables with it.

I find that if I get right into it, I can get stuff done, but if I have a leisurely start the day quickly stalls and i get nothing done.

So, with the smell of warm cauliflower drifting from the kitchen I am going to rough out three poems that are in my head and then get on with more cooking. With luck I will post again tonight so I can morally claim to be up to date.

Carrot & Ginger Soup

Parsnip Soup

The shortage is over, and we now have more parsnips than we need. That’s not a hard problem to balance, as I have just made parsnip and lentil soup. It’s possible that I didn’t need the lentils but, at the back of my mind, I always have the idea that a varied diet is a healthy one.

I am now wondering whether to make a hash or a vegetable stew for my next dish of the day. I’m favouring hash at the moment because we are out of flour and stew without dumplings is just a bowl of boiled vegetables. That is OK in summer but not so good in winter.

Really, I should get a new menu as I seem to recall writing similar blog posts before.  I was going to try pilaff after one of the neighbours brought one round for us, but I never quite get round to it. I’ve made it before, but suspect it was so long ago I wasn’t married.

Tidying my desk has gone unevenly. There’s definitely a difference, but I’m not sure it’s an improvement, being more of an exercise in relocation than in decluttering. It’s going to be an 9nteresting conversation with Julia when she gets back. That’s why I’ve just been messing around on Whoosh, the TESCO short-notice delivery service. I meant to order flour, but the system defeated me. I did remember chocolate cake, so there’s a chance I may be able to buy her off. I will, of course tell her it’s a birthday treat, rather than draw attention to the carnage around my table.

I’m trying to cut down on portion sizes. It hasn’t really worked with the soup, so I’m going to try again with the hash. The only trouble is in cutting down the corned beef. What do you do with half a tin of corned beef that has been extracted from the tin with more force than skill? It might slice in this weather but in summer it can end badly, at which point I just shovel it all in.

I just had my Whoosh delivery. That is going to be a whole new post. Drop by later for that. It will be worth it. For now, imagine my surprise at opening it up and finding I had a lettuce in my shopping. A lettuce🙹 (That’s an interrobang, by the way, it really is proper punctuation.) Not sure if it looks better than ?!, which is one of the alternatives.